BHoM Life Cycle Assessment Toolkit

Architect: Buro Happold

Category: Development of Design or Design-Thinking

This valuable new tool, an open-source endeavor, is an accessible and data-driven framework that allows design professionals to measure embodied carbon of all elements within building design. Supported by a network of architects, engineers, and software developers who have contributed code to it, the Buildings and Habitats object Model (BHoM) boasts an impressive range of functionality that spans multiple disciplines and represents a transformative and democratic approach to measuring embodied carbon in everyday construction materials.

Buro Happold launched BHoM as a data exchange network in 2016, seeking to build a stable framework for the code generated by architects and engineers across the world. Its initial goals were to create a way to share that code across the many platforms designers use every day, resulting in more than 60 adapters for different software and toolkits. Buro Happold released BHoM to the entire profession in 2018 and has continued to refine it further by collaborating with other open-source projects. Since then, the number of code contributors from both inside and outside the firm stands at 87.

More recently, a global team of designers and other affiliated colleagues from firms and universities in London, New York, and Sweden gathered for an all-day hackathon that addressed the climate crisis. That event sparked a connection with AIA’s Committee on the Environment and the Framework for Design Excellence. The team found a number of parallels between its vision for the event and the framework, specifically the Design for Resources element and its focus on embodied carbon.

The tool was born out of a mission to quantify the environmental impact of materials in a transparent way with no payment barrier. This mission aligns perfectly with BHoM’s open-source origin, and, with that at its core, it allows users to access BIM data from Rhino or Revit; move that data into Grasshopper, Dynamo, or Excel; and ultimately export the results to visualization engines or databases for closer inspection.

“This is a demonstration of the power of the collective to build a machine and develop a taxonomy for the industry. It could have a profound impact on the way we do things. The idea embodied in the project has the potential to disrupt the model of a single company owning the technology. It allows this type of technology to be more equitable and affordable.” ~ Jury comment

Free access to the tool allows users to take embodied carbon measurements at any point in the design process, facilitating better material selection. It leverages the significant experience of Buro Happold’s sustainability, structures, and MEP teams to include a full suite of datasets and environmental impact calculation methods. By opening it up to the entire profession, Buro Happold hopes to continue to improve its methods based on the input it receives.

Resources

BhOM toolkit >

Life Cycle Assessment Toolkit wiki >

Additional information

Project Team

Engineer -  Computational Collective: Buro Happold

Engineer - MEP: Buro Happold

Engineer - Structural: Buro Happold

Engineer - Sustainability & Analytics: Buro Happold

Jury

Violet Whitney, Chair, SideWalk Labs, New York, NY

Chris Giattina, BLOX, Bessemer, Alabama

William Zahner, Hon. AIA, A Zahner Company, Kansas City, Missouri

Yanel deAngel, AIA, Perkins+Will, Boston, MA

Charlie Williams, AIA, LPA, Irvine, California

Image credits

toolkit screenshot on computer

Buro Happold

The House at Cornell Tech drone image

Iwan Baan

The House at Cornell Tech exterior

Iwan Baan